Take a Breaking Breath


In Decembers, you get crazy weeks during which you can think of nothing but worries and parties and worry parties. How much work to complete before the holiday, how much shopping left to do, how much time to devote to anything at all…

You only have a few seconds’ worth of gratitude, followed by minutes of panic, and then hours of what seems to be remorse over choices not made. You do not have time to dwell and yet that’s all you seem to do.

Stop. Take a breaking breath and find a pool of light. Bring out a beloved book and pick a passage to shape with your tongue. Taste the air with every vowel. Memorize the melody of your voice.

Then return to your December and your worries and your parties and your worry parties, knowing that you can always have your breaking breaths.


Why Do I Choose Fiction?

ReadinginBetween_Why Fiction?

Clearly, I’m trying to post more often right now because our reading bundles will be launched this Saturday (see you there?). But this whole thing is also forcing me to contemplate why I wanted to be a fictionist in the first place.

ReadinginBetween_Why Fiction?

It’s not like it’s particularly lucrative—sure, some writers are amazing enough to do nothing else but write fiction; but it just so happens that I know, deep down in my heart, that I’m not one of them. Like most other writers out there, I’m the sort who needs to fight for every damn phrase and still ends up with an “ok” (not a “must-read”) piece of work. I’m the sort whose writing isn’t necessarily for everyone; I won’t be writing blockbusters a la Neil Gaiman or Jim Butcher.

I’m the sort who needs a day job to eat properly.

Of course, as many of us know, the appeal of fiction has little to do with revenue and more to do with the strange sense of wonder it generates. I want to write fiction because it makes sense even when little of it is real. I want to write fiction because, when I read other people’s work, I find balance in the truth and non-truths.

I want to write fiction because damn if it doesn’t become the best, most reliable friend you’ll ever have, in your darkest of days.

Am I alone? Am I being too escapist here? Because I honestly don’t understand why non-fiction is considered more lucrative/sensible by a whole bunch of people when it’s fiction that makes me feel so damn alive.

Take, for example, this short passage from Anne Plaza’s “Bloodline Maharlika”:

ReadinginBetween_Bloodline Maharlika Quote

I mean, come on! How vivid is that? That terrifying creature clearly doesn’t exist (anymore) but she described it so well that I can see it when I close my eyes. I can see it coming for me and, if I were close enough to sleep, I can smell it.

And sometimes it’s not just the descriptions—the characters themselves can suck you right in. For example, we have C from Alveel Kaith C’s “As the Night Ends”:

ReadinginBetween_As the Night Ends Quote

…who happens to have sass in spades. I’m not talking about those dinky little rose gardening spades, by the way. I’m talking about those spades that you use to bury dead bodies, which I think is appropriate in this case because OMG I’m dying from laughter right now. C’s so awesome.

So why wouldn’t I want to read and write fiction? Fiction is awesome. It makes you feel wonder, and it makes you wonder, too. It’s the best way to explore the “what ifs” of the world.

Isn’t that worth experiencing?

PS: Both excerpts referenced are part of the #IncredibleTruths bundle, which you can win for free via the raffle I’m running. Yes, I’m aware that I’ve been blogging about nothing but StrangeLit lately—but can you blame me? There are so many stories there and I haven’t even finished reading ALL of them. That’s how much value you can get out of these.

Tangles – A Poem


I was born with a loop around my neck

and even then I knew–

I will breathe in quick, choking sips

and live on in old video skips.


I had wound around and into

the knot –

and held on to nots and whatnots

with fingers trying to weave

back into fists,

back into palms,

so even then I had known I could never be calm


I am covered in stitched hitches

that catch every needle’s eye.